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Why are forecasts needed and how are they produced? Answers to frequently asked questions on water level and discharge forecasts.
Companies that depend on water for their operations - e.g. shipping firms, power plants and companies that require large quantities of process water - need to be able to plan ahead. For this reason, they require information about the water and discharge levels of the watercourse or water body, from which they obtain their water.
Flooding can pose a risk to residents, settlements, industrial plants, roads and railway lines along watercourses and water bodies, and to building sites and engineering works.
To be able to take the necessary protective and emergency measures, the authorities responsible for flood protection need medium-term forecasts.
The FOEN's Hydrology Division has produced water level and discharge forecasts for various locations along the Rhine and its tributaries for many years.
The water level and discharge forecast bulletins are published in tabular and graphical form and provide an overview of river data measured in recent hours and forecasts for water and discharge levels.
This information is presented in the form of hourly averages for three calendar days in each case. Forecasts are generally issued at around 8.30 a.m. on working days. If a specified discharge threshold is exceeded or is forecast as likely to be exceeded, the frequency with which forecasts are calculated is increased. Initially, the forecasts are issued twice daily (including weekends and holidays) on reception of the latest MeteoSwiss weather model (approximately 0.6 h UTC and 18 h UTC). During heavy floods, the forecasts are updated every two hours.
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